AAIPharma to build 40,000-square foot lab


By Wayne Faulkner

Published: Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 4:38 p.m.

Last Modified: Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 4:38 p.m.

AAIPharma Services Corp. is building a 40,000-square-foot laboratory and technology center at its Wilmington headquarters and is adding jobs, CEO Patrick Walsh said Thursday.

"We have around 25 jobs posted already," Walsh said. "We'll be looking at expanding in the lab services sector in the next three to six months."

The contract research firm for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries employs a total of 450 people, the majority of them at its headquarters and other facilities near the Wilmington International Airport.

The new, fully-automated lab and technology center is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter, Walsh said.

"We started demolition a couple of months back," he said, explaining that the project is taking the majority of AAIPharma's existing office building and adding a story to it.

AAIPharma also is expanding its Charleston manufacturing facility, adding a second shift.

In Wilmington, Walsh said, the company already runs a primary and a secondary shift.

"What we're doing in Wilmington specifically is adding additional manufacturing capacity," he said.

Among the company's products are tablets, capsules and other forms of drug delivery for the pharmaceutical industry.

The company also reported Thursday that it had record revenues and operating income in the third quarter.

"It's been really a good year for the company and (the third quarter) was fantastic," Walsh said, adding that it's been a strong year for the industry as well.

Along with adding to its Wilmington and Charleston facilities, the company intends to continue its expansion.

"We're pursuing an internal and external growth strategy, actively looking a acquisitions," Walsh said.

The company is "in final diligence review on several things now."

Total capital spending in the past year is about $15 million, Walsh said.

AAIPharma Services is the result of the break-up of the old AAIPharma Inc. in July 2009.

Chicago-based private equity firm Water Street Healthcare Partners invested about $75 million to acquire the analytical, pharmaceutical and manufacturing businesses of AAIPharma. The clinical-trial portion of the business was split off, renamed ZeeCRO and is based in Cary.

Walsh said the company has an active customer list of 300 to 400 clients – large and small pharmaceutical and biotech companies as well as in the veterinary side of the business.

AAIPharma headquarters, he added, "has been a busy, busy place."

Source: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20111229/ARTICLES/111229687/1177?Title=AAIPharma-to-build-lab-technology-center